December 22, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. | U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik has introduced new legislation to better protect veterans from identity theft and fraud.

The VA Safe Holidays Act is aimed at improving strategies to combat fraud targeting veterans and better streamline efforts to protect against the crimes.

In 2019 and 2020 alone, veterans reported over 201,000 cases of fraud and identity theft, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

“Our veterans have selflessly worked to protect our country, and now it is our turn to protect them from senseless crimes of fraud that can have detrimental impacts on their future,” Stefanik said Dec. 22 in announcing the legislation. “I am proud to introduce this legislation that will bring resources and awareness to our veterans to protect them from the crimes of identity theft and fraud.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has an Identity Theft Helpline and posted website resources. However, Stefanik’s office said, there is not currently a clear strategy for promoting identity theft awareness or the best practices to help the veterans that have recently been subject to these crimes.

Specifically, the new legislation would:

-Designate the annual period of Nov. 1 through Jan. 15 the period in which the VA would enhance its promotion of identity theft prevention resources, specifically targeting the holidays, when identity theft is even more of a risk.

-Directs the VA to submit a plan to Congress detailing its efforts to promote awareness and assist veterans who experience identity theft within 90 days of the law’s enactment.

Read the full article here.